The past two days, East 11th Street between Tracy and Interstate 5 has witnessed the modern version of a chain gang hard at work clearing man-sized bushes from the westerly shoulder.
A white sheriff's bus sits by while men clad in orange vests wield hoes and other various implements of destruction to tame the wild growth — a valuable service if ever there was one.
Because those weeds aren't just ugly. According to Tracy Fire Department personnel, 1 foot of dried brush, if ignited, yields about a 3-foot flame. If some of those 7-foot-tall monsters off 11th Street caught fire in the tinder-dry conditions that have led to several recent blazes, I'd hate to see the resulting inferno.